Picture this. You are playing Breath of the Wild on your coach, a guardian spots you and the warning-like music starts blaring out of your TV like a malfunctioning fire alarm.
In the other room, a baby starts crying, your dog comes to see what´s wrong, and you hear someone shout at you to lower the volume. This all happens as you frantically reach for the TV remote to dial down the sound.
Another scenario. This time you are playing Mario Oddysey, making your way through New Donk´s festival. There is a party going on around you, either in your flat or the one next door. The reverberations of the bass rhythmically prevent you from listening to the sound coming from your Switch.
It´s a shame. The music in the game sounds enchanting ...if only you could hear it. The sounds effects are so drowned out that you don't notice the goomba approaching from behind and taking your last sliver of health.
Do you know what would help in both scenarios?
A pair of headphones would let you, and only you, listen to the game at the exact volume you want without interruptions. Not only that, but they also bring out the detail in the game´s soundtrack, bringing much crispier music into your ears.
To aid in this endeavor, the Nintendo Switch has Bluetooth. Thanks to it, you can connect a great number of wireless headphones to the hybrid console.
There are plenty of Bluetooth headsets on the market, and they do quite a good job. However, they are not without their drawbacks.
Wireless headsets can run out of battery at inconvenient times, their sound quality might be lower, there is a small chance of them getting interference from the environment, and the cheaper ones can have barely noticeable lag with the game.
There is a way around these issues. Quite a simple one.
Get yourself wired headphones.
Unlike their Bluetooth cousins, you plug them in with their cable. By having a direct connection to the device, they avoid most of the issues that I mentioned above.
Depending on the headset, you can connect them via a USB port or a small 3.5 mm hole, which is often called an audio jack. You might be familiar with it, they were the standard way to plug-in earbuds in phones before Apple rebuffed them.
Nonetheless, they are still used by pretty much all other devices but the iPhone. Most of the premium headsets use the jack instead of a USB port.
Does the Nintendo Switch have a headphone jack?
The Switch does have a 3.5 mm jack on top of the console, right between the ventilation port and the game card. To connect a wired headset, plug it in there and it should begin working immediately.
If it doesn't work, then the most likely explanation is that the headset is not compatible with the Nintendo Switch for some reason. I would recommend checking in with its manufacturer.
The jack is located in an ideal place for handheld mode. When using headphones, it´s just out of the way of the screen so that you can play without an annoying cable obstructing the view.
It´s also convenient as it will be quite close to your face, you won't need a very long cable to play.
However, these advantages go out the window the second you stop playing in handheld mode. When you aren't holding the Switch close to your chest, the distance to the TV it´s too great for a short cable.
In that case...
Can you use headphones on a docked switch?
You technically can, but it is not going to be very comfortable for the reasons stated above.
Because you can only connect the headphone to the Switch, you will have to play close to the console.
Depending on how you have arranged the room and the length of the cable, this might be enough for a comfortable game session, or you might play with your neck twisted just to see the TV.
The ideal solution would be to be able to connect your headphones directly to your controllers. Unfortunately, the Joy-Con doesn´t have a jack of any sort...
... But what about the Pro Controller?
Does the Pro Controller have a Headphone Jack?
Despite being a stable of modern gamepads and custom controllers, Nintendo´s official Pro Controller doesn´t come with a headphone jack. It has a variety of other features, but that's not one of them. In theory...
In practice, you can find a whole gamut of third-party imitations of the Pro Controller, or even other interesting variations, like knockoff Gamecube gamepads. One such manufacturer, PDP, has stepped in to fill the niche. They made the Afterglow Deluxe, a controller for the Switch that has a headphone jack for wired headsets.
Unlike what happens when you use the jack on the console itself, this unofficial Pro Controller also lets you use the USB mic on your headset. Doing so gives you access to voice chat without having to download Nintendo's online chat app.
This feature gives this third-party gamepad a slight edge over the official Pro Controller. That said, if you don´t already have a friend that wants to chat when playing Fortnite, don´t expect to hear much talking when you use the mic. Voice chat it´s not as popular on the Switch as it is on the other consoles.
It should be noted that not every game is compatible with voice chat. This controller has a few issues with Mario Kart and Splatoon, for example. Fortnite, however, works perfectly.
You might have noticed that the Afterglow is cheaper than a Pro Controller. While it does have the jack, and a couple of programmable back buttons, it is missing the rumble, gyro and Amiibo reader features that the Pro Controller has.
Thanks to that, it can be sold cheaper than the Pro. If you don´t use motion controls very much and don´t mind playing without the rumble, this is the best controller on the Switch for people who like the clear sound of their headphones and the voice chat in their online games.
How do I connect my headphones to my Nintendo Switch controller?
Easy. Plug them into the jack and put them around your ears. Installing them is as simple as that. The game´s sound should be coming out of the earmuffs without any further input.
For the online chat, it should be simple as that as well. If the game allows it, your teammates and opponents should hear as you talk. Be mindful of an on/off switch on the mic that some headsets have. If it´s set to on, it should work fine.
My headphone didn't work, what happened?
Three main problems might have happened: The headset is broken, the jack is broken or the headphones are not compatible with the Switch.
To see if the headset is broken, try it on your phone or computer. If they still don´t work, then your headphones are the issue. If they do work, clean or blow into the audio jack of the controller to remove any obstructions. Then, try again.
If your headset begins working again, then it was a piece of junk in the audio jack that caused the issue.
If it still doesn't work, then maybe your headphones aren´t compatible or the jack is broken. If the cable fit´s inside the port, it is rare for a wired headset to not be compatible, but it´s not unheard of.
In any case, you will need to either replace the jack (if it´s broken) or the headphones (if they are not compatible).
The Nintendo Switch is a console that has access to a wide array of wired headsets thanks to the audio jack on top of it.
These headsets can deliver clear audio directly to your ears. They are ideal for playing in handheld mode, but what if you want to do it while the Switch is docked? It would be too uncomfortable to play with your face to the screen.
Unfortunately, none of the Switch´s official controllers have an audio jack for you to plug your headphones into.
That´s where PDP´s Afterglow gamepad comes in. This third-party Pro Controller does have a jack that lets you plug in headphones and even chat online.
It´s the solution for playing with headphones while the Switch is on the dock.
If you own an Afterglow, you can play with pretty much every wired headset out there on your Switch, wired or wireless. However, there are a few headphones that aren´t compatible with Nintendo's hybrid console.
Want to have a look at different headphones compatible with the Switch and other consoles? We have them on our page here.
Join our mailing list and we´ll tell you when these headsets, or the Afterglow, go on sale.